As part of a flight deal and a recent trip to Dubai on KLM, I tried the carrier’s 787-10 business class cabin frim Amsterdam and my experience was significantly better than from Houston to Amsterdam.
Ground Experience/Crown Lounge 52
I posted about the lacking experience I had as my first impression of KLM’s business class product at the Crown Lounge in Houston. For those who are not continuing on to another KLM flight and do not experience the remodeled lounges in Amsterdam, they would feel the customer experience was not important to the carrier.
However, if they did visit the lounges in Amsterdam, they’d realize just how amazing the Crown lounges that KLM offers can be. Matthew did a great job (some 100+ images) of the Crown Lounge 52 in Amsterdam. I wanted to write that post, but there’s no way I could match his effort. That said, the lounge is key to connecting passengers so it’s too good not to include a few shots here.
The lounge has a paid restaurant on a mezzanine level overlooking some innovative mixed-use space in the middle of the lounge. While I am sure the food is impeccable, I think the notion of a paid restaurant for this portion is a little odd when United offers this in Polaris for free.
The lounge got excessively busy as the flights from the Americas arrived before connecting onward to the east and throughout Europe. I took the opportunity to refresh with a shower and the system was efficient (QR codes, self-check-in, and text messaging when the room was prepared and assigned). However, I found an odd stain in my shower stall (appeared to be permanent but I didn’t investigate other than avoiding it) and thought it was peculiar that there was no toilet in the shower stall. It’s the first such lounge that hasn’t had a toilet in it.
The food was far better in this lounge and as I stayed from breakfast through lunch, I am happy to report that the food offerings were top-notch throughout my experience. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport has set the bar high for major international gateways if the rest of the experience is as premium as my encounter.
One of the clever aspects of flying KLM in business class on long-haul flights is that each passenger is offered a KLM little house (ceramic and filled with a small amount of Dutch liquor) with each featuring a unique design and number. In the lounge, attendants will help guests swap out one KLM house for another, allowing passengers to expand their collection. It’s a small touch, but left a lasting impression.
Unlike the 2-2-2 configuration of my previous KLM flight from Houston (777-300), this aircraft offered a modern 1-2-1 layout. I have been looking forward to writing this KLM 787-10 business class review because the products were so very different and in the future I would see this aircraft out.
As with my prior flight, the remote offered the ability to not only control the screen but also to display flight information that didn’t interfere with the entertainment screens.
Business class offered a fully lie-flat experience. Comfortable seats offer direct aisle access for every passenger. An international plug with a separate USB outlet kept my devices charged and ready upon arrival in Dubai.
The amenity kit on this route was materially different from my prior kit on the preceding flight. These miniature magnetic clasp amenity kits made a great souvenir for my 8-year-old daughter who promptly used it as a purse upon my return. Included inside were standard amenity kit contents like an eye mask, socks, a pen, a facial moisturizer (which she loved), and lip balm.
One thing I loved about the KLM experience from Amsterdam onward was the small details they seemed to care about. Even the lavatory on the plane featured the design of its signature little houses and premium soaps and sanitizers.
Food and Beverage
After boarding, a pre-departure beverage was available: water, orange juice, or sparkling wine for those interested in such things.
Though I wasn’t collecting Flying Blue miles for this trip, I am a Delta Diamond this year and my status in KLM’s partner loyalty program was recognized. I was offered my first choice of the menu but yielded to my flight attendant as I had just eaten in the lounge.
She recommended the vegetable stew following a mezze plate starter. While I appreciate her opinion, the vegetable stew was inedible as were many of the starters. Eat in the lounge or order something else on the menu.
In stark contrast to my inbound experience, Amsterdam to Dubai on KLM was an excellent journey. The aircraft was first-rate, the attention to detail was superb, and the ground experience was exceptional. While I won’t be ordering the vegetable stew again, the little touches here and there helped KLM stand out. As the airline updates its business class product across the fleet, I could see why some might choose KLM or Air France for all of their applicable long-haul flights.
What do you think? Have you flown this aircraft or route? How was your experience?